Bamboo is a labour intensive material and requires a mass labour force to be able to propagate,
maintain, harvest, treat, craft and distribute. This means job creation. As the industry develops, value will be added
to local communities through projects such as ablutions, schools, houses, and workshops aimed at skills development.
Our vision is to build the future South Africa by cultivating the resources around us, whilst enabling the people around us.
We want to make bamboo a mainstream construction material, through Agrément certification.
The Agrément certification process recently made it possible to use Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEBs) in mainstream construction,
which has in turn led to some landmark
civic architecture in South Africa.
Learning how to harness and use renewable resources makes it possible to combine earth and
bamboo to create a resilient humanitarian infrastructure, as seen elsewhere in the world.
Having to grow up, study and work in South Africa, we are vividly aware of the colonial and Apartheid history of this country.
We recognise the fact that the non-educated black South African person has been, and continues to be exploited.
As such we are developing a bamboo development model (bottom) whereby resources generated will
be injected back into the bamboo farming communities in the form of essential services
(eg toilets), housing, school facilities, public community spaces and gardens, and so forth.
We will approach non profit organisations with similar objectives to ask for assistance in order to execute projects.
We want to invest in, and strengthen our communities through this inclusive and dynamic business model.
"Affordable housing, skills, and resources for South Africa"
The founders of RHSA first met while studying at the UKZN School of Architecture in Durban, South Africa.
In 2018, the novice architects formed RHSA on the premise that an inclusive and sustainable business can be built
around the ecology of bamboo in its natural life cycle. There are vast amounts of unemployed youth who are more than willing
to learn about bamboo and benefit financially from it too. If only we could tap into this resource and demonstrate a way forward.
South Africa is quite a dry country, yet bamboos already exist in many areas, notably along the east coast where there
are decent levels of rainfall. Different types of bamboos can be found in botanical gardens and public parks, but also along rail
sidings, highways, farmland, industrial land, river banks and so on. Not all of these plants have been identified, as South Africa
only has one truly indigenous
species and one naturalized
species of bamboo.
South Africa is also home to many mines and mine dumps, and it is well
documented that bamboo can be used in soil rehabilitation (phytoremediation).
South African Bamboo Culture
Unlike in other countries from South Asia, Indonesia and Latin America where availability and usage of bamboo are prolific,
only a minority of people in South Africa use bamboo to its full potential.
Our research and fieldwork suggest that the rate of adoption is low due to lack of
knowledge about the many uses of bamboo, namely food, phytoremediation, and craft/construction. Barring traditional uses of bamboo in rural areas,
we have seen that generally people have limited knowledge about how to treat, design and build with bamboo. Places with a rich bamboo history and culture have
tried and tested methods and processes of working with bamboo, and so (with the help of NPO's) we are aiming to facilitate skills
development workshops where the exchange of cultural knowledge can take place.